USCIB Holds High-Level Meetings During WTO Public Forum

USCIB and several members were on the ground in Geneva the week of October 7 for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum. The Forum included a plethora of panels on critical issues of concern to business including digital trade, services, the moratorium in customs duties on electric transmissions (Moratorium), the ongoing e-commerce negotiations, and WTO reform, including issues surrounding the Appellate Body (AB).

In addition to participating in the active forum agenda, USCIB’s Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan and Senior Director Eva Hampl held side-meetings with WTO leadership, such as Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff, Director, Council and TNC Division Victor do Prado, Director, Information and External Relations Division Keith Rockwell and Counselor, Telecom, ICT & E-commerce, Trade in Services and Investment Division Lee Tuthill. Mulligan and Hampl also met with Ambassadors Dennis SheaStephen deBoer, and Junichi Ihara from the United States, Canada, and Japan, respectively. Finally, USCIB engaged with international business groups, including Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Ibec (Irish Business), Canadian Chamber of Commerce, ICC UK, and Confederation of Danish Industry (DI).

“Across the board, everybody is closely paying attention to the E-Commerce negotiations,” said Mulligan. “There is a general positive attitude regarding the negotiations, but also a recognition that the tough issues like data flows and localization policies are still to come. Accordingly, it is not likely that an agreement will be ready by the Ministerial Council meeting in June 2020 (MC12).”

According to Mulligan, on the issue of the Moratorium, there continue to be opponents to extending the agreement, but most WTO members support at a minimum extending it to MC12 once it runs out in December of this year. To push back against the opposing forces, several studies are being developed. Among these, the OECD is also developing a paper on the Moratorium, which is likely to be released very soon.

WTO reform domin ated the discussion, often targeted at the U.S. pushing for meaningful updates on issues like subsidies, transparency, and notifications. The U.S. position on the Appellate Body, however, continues to be controversial and there is some nervousness about what will happen to the dispute resolution arm of the WTO once the terms of two of the three remaining AB members run out at the end of the year. On the other hand, there are some who believe pragmatism will take over and the value of the institution and the important work being done on the other reforms will not be impacted.

USCIB also co-hosted a breakfast with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Speakers at the breakfast included The Right Honorable Liz Truss MP, secretary of state for International Trade in the UK, who spoke on the importance of the multilateral trading system; Ambassador Sunanta Kangvalkulkij from Thailand, who provided an update in the General Council discussions; Ambassador David Walker from New Zealand, who provided an update on the AB, and Ambassador Frances Lisson from Australia, who spoke about the JSI on E-Commerce; and WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo, who spoke to the current state of play of WTO Reform.

To wrap up the busy week in Geneva, USCIB co-hosted a business reception with several other business associations, to underline the importance of a business relationship with the WTO. Invitees include member companies and associations, country delegates, and WTO staff.

USCIB Informs UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation

USCIB submitted a letter on the final report of the United Nations High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLPDC). The HLPDC was established by the UN Secretary-General in July 2018 to identify good examples and propose modalities for working cooperatively across sectors, disciplines and borders to address challenges in the digital age. USCIB had previously submitted two other sets of comments aiming to shape the substance of the final report.

The letter was sent to Fabrizio Hochschild, special adviser to the UN Secretary General on the preparations for the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the UN and emphasized USCIB’s view that the global digital ecosystem benefits when government policymakers work in close cooperation with business and other stakeholders to develop and ensure that the legal, policy, and regulatory approaches adopted and implemented result in a holistic framework.

Additionally, USCIB provided comprehensive comments on the need to provide a business perspectives to help fine-tune the analysis, refine the proposed IGF Plus global digital cooperation architecture model, concerns about certain elements of the Recommendations and relevant work already underway in other intergovernmental organizations that should be leveraged.

“We are pleased that another pervasive theme recognizes the complexities of the emerging digital ecosystem and, in turn, underscores the importance of informing policy development through multistakeholder processes,” said Barbara Wanner, USCIB vice president for ICT policy. “In the coming months, we look forward to working with the HLPDC Secretariat to help host technical roundtables aimed at implementing the report recommendations.”

APEC Advances Cross-Border Privacy, Welcomes Philippines 

APEC’s Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) wrapped up four days of meetings on August 21 in Puerto Varas, Chile as part of the third Senior Officials Meeting (SOM3). USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner attended the meetings and reported from the field.

According to Wanner, highlights of this meeting included an announcement by the Philippines of its intent to participate in the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System, which, upon approval, would make it the 9th APEC member economy to participate in the regional privacy system. An important priority for USCIB, the CBPR is a high-standard and enforceable privacy code of conduct that facilitates cross-border trade and ensures strong privacy protection of personal information. Philippines joins Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Singapore and the United States in participating in the system.

Providing a boost to U.S. company participation in the CBPR, the United States secured the approval of Schellman & Co, LLC as its second Accountability Agent (AA). Schellman will join TrustArc, which heretofore has served as the only agent to independently assess and certify the compliance of U.S. companies under the CBPR and related APEC Privacy Recognition for Processors (PRP).

Singapore also was pleased to announced the appointment Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) as its Accountability Agent, joining the United States and Japan, whose JIPDEC serves as its AA.

“A key takeaway from a U.S. government-organized workshop on August 18 focused on fostering AA participation was that the dearth of national AAs has hampered broader company participation in the CBPR,” noted Wanner.

Another important action item was that the some of the CBPR’s 50 program requirements, approved in 2011, need to be revised to better align with global privacy regimes.

USCIB Washington Update: May – June, 2019

During the months of May and June 2019, USCIB Staff met with Angela Ellard, House Ways & Means Minority Chief Trade Counsel, Christa Brzozwski, DHS, Nick Gardner, US Dairy Export Council, and Martin Kreienbaum, German Federal Ministry of Finance, issued recommendations on the WTO e-Commerce negotiations, hosted the 14th Annual OECD International Tax Conference, and much more. Below are summaries of these and other highlights from the activities of USCIB in Washington, D.C. over the last three months. If you have any questions or comments, or want more information on a specific topic, please contact any of the staff members listed at the end of this brief.

Table of Contents:

  1. Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment
  1. ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies
  1. Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness
  1. Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices
  1. Anti-Illicit Trade – Promoting Strong International AIT Leadership and Advocating a Comprehensive and Multi-Disciplinary Approach to AIT
  1. Food and Agriculture – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise
  1. China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business

  1. Competition – Creating Global Legal Practices for an Open and Competitive Business Environment
  1. Membership
  2. Upcoming Events
  3. Staff List

 Trade and Investment – Opening Global Markets for Trade and Investment 

Angela Ellard, House Ways & Means, Briefs USCIB Trade Committee: At the June 20 meeting of the USCIB Trade and Investment Committee members received a briefing from Angela Ellard, Minority Chief Trade Counsel, House Ways & Means Committee. She shared her immediate impressions of Ambassador Lighthizer’s hearing the day prior, indicated that USMCA is a top priority and responded to questions on a range of other trade issues. This was followed by a briefing from Nick Ashton Hart of the Digital Trade Network, who called into the meeting directly after the conclusion of the WTO E-Commerce negotiations in Geneva. The most recent round of negotiations took place from June 18-20. Nick was able to provide an in depth, off-the-record briefing on the negotiations as the only business representative present in the room for the negotiations.

USCIB Statement on WTO e-Commerce Negotiations: In early June, USCIB issued Recommendations on the WTO e-Commerce negotiations, reflecting member priorities and goals for the negotiations, which had their first round in May. At the December 2017 WTO ministerial in Buenos Aires, 71 countries agreed to begin discussing new global rules to facilitate the expansion of the digital economy. The negotiations were formally launched in January with a joint statement by 76 countries, including the United States, in Davos at the World Economic Forum. As of the most recent round, the joint statement initiative now includes 78 WTO members, representing 90% of global trade. USCIB encouraged negotiators to focus on trade facilitation, services, digital trade, and transparency and trust. In addition to this paper, USCIB is actively engaging in the negotiations in Geneva via various efforts, including the Digital Trade Network and the International Chamber of Commerce.

Robinson on the Road (1): OECD and “Business at OECD” Annual High-Level Sessions: USCIB President/CEO Peter Robinson was one of the leaders of the Business at OECD (BIAC) delegation participating in the OECD’s annual Ministerial session in Paris May 22-23. Peter also attended the OECD’s pre-Ministerial Forum and was able to have a series of bilateral meetings with senior government representatives from the U.S. and other OECD countries, senior OECD officials including Secretary General Gurria and the newly-appointed Deputy Secretary General from the U.S., Jeffrey Schlagenhauf. Peter also attended, along with Business at OECD Vice Chair Rick Johnston (Citi), the annual BIAC General Assembly of its 30 national committees members and the 5th annual B20/G20/BIAC/OECD dialogue session ahead of the June G20 Osaka Summit, an opportunity for business to share recommendations to the G20 leaders and Sherpas.

Robinson on the Road (2): ICC High-Level Meetings: The following week, May 28-29, in Paris Peter Robinson shifted into International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) mode, representing USCIB at the ICC’s “Permanent Heads” meeting (i.e. Peter’s National Committee head counterparts from around ICC’s broad global network) and the ICC “World Council”. A special “Knowledge Solutions” session was held, at which ICC Secretary General John Denton and his leadership team laid out their vision, priorities, and structure for the organization, and which also included leadership representatives from some of ICC’s policy Commissions. A special ICC Centenary Summit was held to mark ICC’s 100th year, which was addressed by senior governmental and intergovernmental officials and at which previous ICC Chairmen and Secretaries-General were present.

Robinson on the Road (3): Geneva and London – ILO Leadership and Partnership with ICC-UK: after a short break at home, Peter was off to Geneva to participate, June 17-18, along with USCIB Vice President Gabriella Rigg Herzog, Senior Counsels Ronnie Goldberg and Tom Mackall, and several USCIB member company representatives in events at and around the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) ten-day centennial International Labor Conference. While in Geneva, Peter attended the Presidents Forum of the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and was a featured panelist, along with ILO DG Guy Ryder, WTO DG Roberto Azevedo, World Bank SVP Mahmoud Mohieldin, OECD Chief of Staff Gabriela Ramos, ITUC DG Sharan Burrow and others at an ILO event on “Multilateralism for an Equitable Future of Work.” Peter was also able to have a series of very useful informal bi-laterals with key government and international organization leaders. Peter then stopped in London on his way home, joining a panel at ICC-UK’s annual general meeting, presenting USCIB views on the future of the WTO, the multilateral trading system, and the just-launched WTO e-commerce negotiations. Peter also was invited to join and speak to ICC-UK’s Board meeting about current USCIB/ICC-USA priorities.

Hampl Discusses China and USMCA at Investor Conference: USCIB Senior Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services, Eva Hampl, spoke on a panel entitled Trade & Tariffs – Today & Tomorrow at the annual MLP & Energy Infrastructure Conference (MEIC 2019) in Las Vegas, May 14-16. The panel, which also included Colin Bird from the Embassy of Canada and Karen Antebi from the Embassy of Mexico, provided a macro perspective on current trade issues. The discussion focused on various issues surrounding China, the importance of the U.S. trade relationship with Mexico and Canada, including the U.S. Mexico Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), and other trade issues.

Donnelly Meets with Swiss Government Official: USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly met May 14 with visiting senior Swiss Government official, Phillippe Nell, Director for the Americas in the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (“SECO”), to exchange views on a range of bilateral and global trade and economic issues, including WTO reform, China, new U.S. national security review procedures for incoming Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and possibilities for a U.S. – Switzerland trade agreement.

USCIB Board of Directors Focuses on Trade Policy Developments: USCIB’s Board of Directors at its Spring meeting in New York City on May 15, had a wide-ranging discussion of key trade issues. The Board focused on issues including “section 232” national security reviews of imported steel, aluminum, and automobiles; prospects for congressional approval of the U.S./Mexico/Canada Agreement (USMCA); U.S.-China trade tensions; as well as WTO priorities, negotiation of an e-commerce agreement and institutional reform of the WTO. The Board endorsed the leadership role and the strong policy positions USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee have been articulating.

USCIB Leading Business Voice on UNCITRAL Negotiations on Investment Agreement “Reform”: USCIB staff members have been meeting regularly with U.S. government investment negotiators and lawyers participating in the negotiations under the auspices of the UN’s Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group 3. Those discussions of possible revisions to the vast network of 3000+ Bilateral Investment Treaties (“BITs”) as well as investment chapters in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) around the world are zeroing in on key enforcement details, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement “ISDS” provisions. On April 29, USCIB staff met with the key US negotiators from the State Department and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative to review developments. On May 23, USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly was a rare business participant amidst a sea of lawyers in the discussion of the UNCITRAL negotiations at the open public meeting of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law. USCIB is continuing to urge the U.S. Government and other participants to maintain strong substantive investment protections as well as enforcement provisions.

ICT Policy – Promoting Sound Policies for New Technologies

 USCIB Members Shape Launch of OECD Review of 2013 Privacy Guidelines, Advance Work on Security, Data Governance, & Communications Issues: Business should assume responsibility for the privacy of data through its life cycle by conducting rigorous and documented risk assessments and mitigation, ensuring transparency through both internal and external audits, continually monitoring and testing to prevent gaps, and generally going above and beyond what is required by law. This was an important message delivered USCIB members who participated in a special OECD workshop on May 6 aimed at a advancing the mandated five-year review of the 2013 OECD Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data (the “Privacy Guidelines”). The May 6-7 meetings of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) Working Party Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE), also moved forward work focused on revising an OECD Recommendation on the Protection of Children Online, developing principles for access to and sharing of data, advancing the Global Forum for Digital Security for Prosperity, and adopting the draft Recommendation on Artificial Intelligence. AT&T provided a critical review of the OECD’s work on bundled communication price baskets, which was considered at the May 7 meeting of the Working Party on Communication Infrastructures and Services Policy (CISP).

USCIB Convenes Meeting with Co-Director of the UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation Secretariat: USCIB convened a private, luncheon discussion on June 13 with Ambassador Amandeep Gill, Co-Director of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLPDC) Secretariat. The meeting was especially timely since the HLPDC report, The Age of Digital Interdependence, was hot off the press having been issued on June 10. USCIB members reiterated key points in our November 2018 and January 2019 submissions, urging a “holistic approach” to digital policy that went beyond use of digital technologies by the information, communications, and technology (ICT) sector, and considered how ICTs can serve as enablers for innovations across all sectors, such as in healthcare, education, finance, and energy, to name a few. Members cautioned against creating duplicative Internet governance mechanisms, urged increased resources to support the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and encouraged the HLPDC to integrate the OECD’s work on Artificial Intelligence and digital transformation as well as draw upon initiatives of standards organizations, such as the IEEE.

USCIB Engages with U.S. Department of Justice and State about International Initiatives Focused on Cybercrime and Cybersecurity: The June 13 meeting of the ICT Policy Committee featured discussions with Department of Justice officials about efforts currently underway to negotiate an additional protocol to the so-called Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. The changes are aimed at bringing the Convention up to date with developments in the digital economy, improve on the current Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) approach, and generally expand international cooperation to pursue various computer crimes. An important over-arching theme was that cybercrime (e.g. fraud and other crimes involving computers) should not be conflated with cybersecurity, the latter of which centers on the protection of networks. Complementing the cybercrime discussion, USCIB members explored with key State Department officials the latest developments in the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications (GGE), which enjoys U.S. support. The GGE is structured to convene regular institutional dialogue on cybersecurity issues as well as bilateral and regional discussions that feed into the UN General Assembly. In the run-up to the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, however, the Russian Government put forward a competing proposal for a cybersecurity-focused Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG). The U.S. Government abstained on grounds that the OEWG’s work likely will be strongly influenced by Russia’s support for mechanisms to censor online content. Nevertheless, the OEWG kicked off an organization meeting on June 3 and likely will proceed ahead of the GGE process. The State Department speaker informed USCIB members that stakeholders accredited by ECOSOC may participate in the OEWG as observers; the GGE is a multilateral process involving governments only.

USCIB Members Advocate for Timely Development of a GDPR-Compliant Uniform Access Model (UAM) for Nonpublic Registration Data at ICANN 65: ICANN 65’s policy-focused meeting wrapped up on June 27 in Marrakech, Morocco. Barbara Wanner, USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy, and members from AT&T, Amazon, BT, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, and VeriSign, joined participants from the multi-stakeholder community to address key policy issues in management of the domain name system. For the past year, USCIB members have been contributing actively to an Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) to develop a formal policy to ensure that ICANN and the industry of more than 1,000 generic top-level domain (gTLD) registries and registrars meet existing ICANN contractual requirements concerning the collection of and access to registration data as well as comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The EPDP’s Phase 1 Final Report was issued earlier this year, which contained 29 policy recommendations. USCIB members who participate in the ICANN’s Business and Intellectual Property Constituencies used the Marrakech meeting to underscore the importance of moving expeditiously in “Phase 2.” This phase will focus on designing a Uniform Access Model (UAM) to enable third-party access to non-public WHOIS data for legitimate law enforcement, consumer protection, brand management, and intellectual property (IP) protection purposes. Wanner serves on the Business Constituency’s Executive Committee.

Tax – Advancing Tax Policies that Promote U.S. Competitiveness

USCIB Holds Successful Tax Conference with the OECD and Business at OECD: The fourteenth annual OECD/USCIB Tax Conference took place on June 3rd and 4th at the Four Seasons in Washington, DC. The conference focused on the taxation of the digitalizing economy and provided the first opportunity for business and governments to discuss the OECD’s work program. The conference also considered treaty issues and the tax implications of Brexit. Tax Committee Chair, Bill Sample, and Vice Chairs, Tim McDonald, Louise Weingrod, and Will Morris represented business views at the conference. Economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s keynote remarks focused on ways to improve the tax capacity of emerging markets, which are expected to receive a growing share of global private-sector investment in the years ahead

Other panelists and speakers at this year’s conference included:

  • Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD Center for Tax Policy & Administration
  • Martin Kreienbaum, director general for international taxation, German Ministry of Finance
  • Chip Harter, deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs, U.S. Treasury
  • Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, an economist and former finance minister of Nigeria
  • Doug O’Donnell, commissioner of the Large Business and International Division, IRS
  • Mike Williams, director of business and international tax, HM Treasury (UK).

USCIB Tax Committee Meets in Conjunction with OECD/USCIB Tax Conference: The USCIB Tax Committee met with Martin Kreienbaum, which afforded committee members a deep dive on some of the issues discussed at the Tax Conference. The committee also considered ways to provide input into the OECD work program and recent guidance on Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Carol Doran Klein Represents Business Views at the Pacific Rim Tax Conference in Palo Alto: USCIB’s tax expert Carol Doran Klein presented at the ninth annual Pacific Rim Tax Conference on Digital Economy Tax Issues, held May 9-10 in California. Doran Klein’s panel covered the ongoing work on taxation of the digitalizing economy at the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) and the United Nations. The panel provided an overview of the background including Action 1 of the OECD’s Base-Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project, digital services taxes and other unilateral interim measures, and the different options under consideration at the OECD.

USCIB Submits Comments to Regulators: USCIB submitted comments on proposed regulations on Foreign Derived Intangible Income and on draft UN transfer pricing guidance. The comments can be found under the recent accomplishments section of our web page.

Customs and Trade Facilitation – Reducing Barriers and Costs from Customs and Border Control Practices

USCIB and U.S. Chamber Hold WCO E-Commerce Industry Day Meeting: On May 21, 2019, USCIB members along with many U.S. government agency partners (CBP, DHS, USTR, State, Treasury), and non-member associations working on customs issues (IRU, US Fashion Industry Association, American Association of Importers and Exporters), came together to discuss the WCO E-Commerce Framework of Standards. The meeting was led by Christa Brzozwski of DHS, and Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Chair, Jerry Cook of Hanes brand. The goal of the meeting was to ensure that the USG have enough “industry” support for their positions going into the June Policy Commission Meeting and it was felt that this goal was achieved.

Anti-Illicit Trade – Promoting Strong International AIT Leadership and Advocating a Comprehensive and Multi-Disciplinary Approach to AIT

USCIB Anti-Illicit Trade Committee Talks FTZ Legislation: On June 10, 2019, USCIB hosted Paul Massaro, Policy Advisor for the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Gary Kalman, Executive Director for the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition to discuss future FTZ legislation and the Corporate Transparency Act. Massaro explained how the Helsinki Commission has engaged and become a part of the US task force on illicit trade while Kalman elaborated on the international development of the FACT coalition within the illicit finance background. At the meeting, Megan Giblin and David Luna, Committee Chair, provided updates on AITC partnerships including possible FTZ workshop, meetings with State and APEC, as well as beginning discussions with ICC BASCAP.

Food and Agriculture – Promoting an Open and Efficient Global Food System by Providing Industry Expertise

USCIB Holds Joint Food and Agriculture and Health Care Committee Meeting: On June 5, 2019, Nick Gardner, Director, Codex and International Regulatory Affairs at the US Dairy Export Council, met with USCIB members to provide a detailed overview and insight into Codex Alimentarius and its involvement with food safety. Gardner emphasized the overarching issue with WHO and FAO jointly administering Codex, which poses several challenges, such as major trade implications and access to new markets/trade to existing markets. Additionally, at the meeting, Mike Michener discussed important upcoming events, including the ECOSOC High Level Political Forum (July 9-18) and the UN General Assembly (September, 17-30).

China – Supporting Policies and Relationships that Enhance U.S.-China Business

 USCIB Submits Comments on China Tariffs and Hampl Testifies: USCIB submitted comments on June 17 to the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on the proposed modification to Section 301 regarding China’s policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation. The submission expressed concern that proposed tariffs on essentially all Chinese imports will stifle the U.S. economy and will not achieve the Administration’s goal of changing China’s behavior. Eva Hampl, Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services testified on these issues before the Section 301 Committee on June 21 as part of a hearing spanning 7 days and with over 300 witnesses. USCIB also joined with the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland Coalition, alongside 661 other companies and association, to send a letter to President Trump on June 13 urging the administration to negotiate a strong deal with China that addresses longstanding structural issues, improves U.S. global competitiveness and eliminates tariffs.

Competition – Creating Global Legal Practices for an Open and Competitive Business Environment

USCIB Urges Reversal of 1-800 Contacts FTC Ruling: USCIB filed an amicus brief with regards to 1-800 Contacts, Inc. case to highlight the challenges American businesses would face under the recent Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) decision’s approach to antitrust liability for trademark settlements, and explain the potential negative impacts the decision would have on businesses, consumers and competition if left to stand. Earlier this year, the FTC decided to impose antitrust liability against 1-800 Contacts, the largest online retailer of contact lenses in the U.S., on the basis that 1-800 Contacts’ settlements of trademark infringing lawsuits against at least fourteen competing online contact lens retailers restricted trade. Among other things, USCIB’s amicus argues that the Commission’s decision ignores the critical importance to business of intellectual property rights and its enforcement and would unfairly require the lawful exercise of such rights to a higher pro-competition standard.

Membership

Membership Meetings: The USCIB membership department and policy staff met with representatives from member companies Nissan North America, Expedia, Astellas, and American Express to develop our understanding of their policy priorities for the next year and beyond, and to see how USCIB can better serve their policy needs. In addition, the USCIB membership department and USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson met with representatives from member companies AT&T and Intel Corporation.

New Members: USCIB has recently welcomed Palo Alto Networks as a new member.

Upcoming Events:

  • OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy, Paris, France – July 1-2
  • UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), New York, NY – July 9-18
  • USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee Meeting, Washington, DC – July 10
  • USCIB Foundation-IOE-Deloitte SDG Summit, New York, NY – July 17
  • US Customs & Border Protection 2019 Trade Symposium, Chicago, Illinois – July 23-24
  • Internet Governance Forum USA (IGF-USA), Washington, DC – July 25
  • Meeting of APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group and Data Privacy Subgroup, Puerto Varas, Chile – August 18-21
  • Preparing for the Future of Work: A USCIB Foundation Dialogue, Washington, DC – September 5
  • 11th Annual Engaging Business Forum on Business and Human Rights, Atlanta, Georgia – September 12-13
  • World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt – October 28-November 22
  • ICANN 66, Montreal, Canada – November 2-7
  • Meetings of the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) and its Working Parties, Paris France – November 18022
  • 14th Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Berlin, Germany – November 25-29

 

USCIB Policy and Program Staff

Rob Mulligan
Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs
202-682-7375 or rmulligan@uscib.org

Erin Breitenbucher
Senior Policy and Program Associate and Office Manager, Washington
202-682-7465 or ebreitenbucher@uscib.org

Jonathan Huneke
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
212-703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

Shaun Donnelly
Vice President, Investment and Financial Services
202-682-1221 or sdonnelly@uscib.org

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

Megan Giblin
Director, Customs and Trade Facilitation
202-371-9235 or mgiblin@uscib.org

Carol Doran Klein
Vice President and International Tax Counsel
202-682-7376 or cdklein@uscib.org

Ronnie Goldberg
Senior Counsel
212-703-5057 or rgoldberg@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Associate, New York
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Daniella Goncalves
Assistant Policy and Program Manager, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5083 or dgoncalves@uscib.org

Mike Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener@uscib.org

Eva Hampl
Senior Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services
202-682-0051 or ehampl@uscib.org

Chris Olsen
Policy and Program Associate, Washington
202-617-3156 or colsen@uscib.org

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
212-703-5056 or gherzog@uscib.org

Kendall Thibeadeau
Policy and Program Associate, New York
212-703-5095 or kthibeadeau@uscib.org

Ashley Harrington
Policy and Program Associate, Washington
202-682-5861 or aharrington@uscib.org

Barbara Wanner
Vice President, ICT Policy
202-617-3155 or bwanner@uscib.org

Alison Hoiem
Senior Director, Member Services
202-682-1291 or ahoiem@uscib.org

Kira Yevtukhova
Communications Manager
202-617-3160 or kyevtukhova@uscib.org

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USCIB Helps Shape AI Recommendations at OECD

The OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) met in Paris July 1-2 to discuss follow-on work on Artificial Intelligence (AI), which was anchored by the May 22 Council Recommendation on Artificial Intelligence, an instrument uniformly lauded by CDEP delegates and stakeholders. USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner was on the ground, alongside members from Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Netflix and TMG Legal.

Experts from Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft actively shaped the development of the AI Recommendation as participants on a special AI Experts Group. Under the auspices of Business at OECD (BIAC), USCIB members again stepped up on June 1 to provide the business perspective on practical implementation of the AI Recommendation as well as the complementary AI Policy Observatory.

“While there were no concrete outputs from the two-day meeting, the discussions provided important feedback to the OECD Secretariat, which will revise and refine the AI implementation document and plans for the AI Policy Observatory for consideration at the November 18-22 meetings of the CDEP and its Working Parties,” said Wanner.

Other notable topics addressed during the two-day meeting included next steps for Going Digital Phase 2 project and the Going Digital Toolkit, a discussion of the Blockchain pillar, further work on online platforms, and a proposal to revise the mandate of the Working Party on Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy.

Modest Progress at G20 Osaka Summit Welcomed

USCIB responded with cautious optimism to the modest progress made at this year’s Group of 20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, and at the meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, where the two leaders agreed to continue working toward a resolution of their bilateral trade disputes.

“We are relieved that the U.S. and China have stepped back from a broader escalation of their tit-for-tat tariffs,” said USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan. “We encourage both parties to move swiftly toward resolution of their disputes. The existing tariffs have already had a negative impact on American exports, and could threaten U.S. jobs as well as our broader competitiveness.”

Mulligan also welcomed the G20 leaders’ endorsement of recent OECD blueprints for cooperation on global tax measures as well as on a “human-centric” approach to the deployment of artificial intelligence – both areas where USCIB members have provided active input to international policy deliberations.

In their communiqué, the G20 leaders warned of growing risks to the global economy but stopped short of denouncing protectionism, mainly due to push-back from the United States. “We strive to realize a free, fair, nondiscriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open,” they stated.

While leaders made only passing mention of efforts to modernize the World Trade Organization, several voiced renewed support for the recently launched plurilateral negotiations on e-commerce taking place under the WTO’s aegis.

President Trump and leaders from China, Japan and the European Union joined the WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo in welcoming the Osaka Declaration on the Digital Economy, which commits the signatories to promote efforts on international rule-making in this area and urges further progress on e-commerce at the WTO.

“A fragmentation of the digital economy would hurt us all,” said Azevêdo. “It would mean higher costs and higher barriers to entry, affecting developing countries and smaller businesses the most. The 20th century showed that a fractured global trade order was not sustainable – that’s why we created the WTO. The same is true today. You may well be working on a constitution for the economy of the 21st century.

Business Calls for More Time on Proposed Tech Export Controls 

USCIB joined more than 25 leading business associations to urge U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to ensure that the public has adequate time to review and provide feedback on a proposed rulemaking regarding the review of controls for foundational technologies set forth in the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA).

The request comes in anticipation of the next round of rulemaking as part of the modernization of the export control regime through ECRA, which updated the process to address essential national security objectives. For the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding emerging technologies in November, the administration initially allotted 30 days for review and comments, prompting a multi-industry response asking for an extension, which was granted.

“The preparation of industry input in response to the emerging technologies ANPRM provided a window into the complex dimensions of these proposed policy changes,” the associations wrote in a letter sent to Secretary Ross. “As we look to the next phase of this project, we request that BIS set the comment period for the foundational technologies ANPRM to 90 days to ensure our associations and our member companies have adequate time to review the notice and provide comprehensive feedback to address the policy concerns and technological complexities at issue.”

The Department of Commerce has been an engaged partner with industry since the process began in late 2018, and industry welcomes the opportunity to support the U.S. government in working towards these important national security objectives.

OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy – 79th Session

The 79th session of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy which will take place at the OECD Headquarters

July 1-2, 2019

Paris, France

The Deputy Secretary-General responsible for the Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Mr. Ulrik Knudsen, and the Director for STI, Mr. Andrew Wyckoff, will report on the main developments in the Directorate and at the OECD and beyond, which are of interest to the Committee.

Going Digital project

The Committee will be updated on the outcomes of the Going Digital Summit held on 11-12 March 2019, including the launches of the Going Digital synthesis report Going Digital: Shaping Policies, Improving Lives, the companion report Measuring the Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for the Future and the Going Digital toolkit, as well as proposed outreach activities to promote the work.

Artificial Intelligence

The Committee will be updated on progress made regarding the adoption of the Council Recommendation on AI and the publication of the analytical report on Artificial Intelligence. It will also be requested to approve the declassification of DSTI/CDEP(2019)1, which includes the proposal by the AIGO experts group to the CDEP.

ICANN Concludes With Progress on a Privacy-Compliant Access Mechanism

ICANN 65 wrapped up on June 27 in Marrakesh, Morocco, advancing discussions about the design of a model that would enable access to nonpublic domain name system registration data for legitimate purposes that would comply with EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other privacy regimes.

“The ICANN community though acknowledged that it still lacks critical information and advice from the EU Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) to properly inform the development of a GDPR-compliant uniform access model (UAM),” said Barbara Wanner, USCIB’s lead for ICT policy who attended the meetings in Morocco in her capacity as the Business Constituency’s (BC) representative to the Commercial Stakeholder Group (CSG). “This ‘chicken-or-egg’ causality dilemma dominated both formal and hallway discussions,” added Wanner.

Business users of the domain names system, which include many USCIB members, need access to DNS registration data (commonly known as WHOIS) for purposes of brand and trademark protection, to implement consumer protections, and to undertake cybersecurity mitigation. Law enforcement officials around the world also need WHOIS access to combat cyber-crime.

“ICANN’s Business Constituency, which includes USCIB and several members, distinguished itself by stepping up to offer reinforcement to ICANN senior management efforts to engage EU lawmakers and regulators to realize legal clarity,” said Wanner.

The four-day Policy Forum also featured discussions about how to evolve ICANN’s multistakeholder model to improve its effectiveness as part of the FY 2021-2025 Strategic Plan and technologies for making domain name system transactions confidential. Amazon Corporation’s seven-year effort to secure delegation of .amazon was in the spotlight again as were issues with two bylaws-mandated reviews.

Wanner’s position as a BC on the CSG has enabled greater input to policy discussions at the CSG executive committee-level on behalf of USCIB members and facilitated important meetings with senior ICANN officials and other key constituencies. USCIB member representatives from Amazon, AT&T, BT Americas, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and The Walt Disney Company were present in Marrakesh and actively contributed to all policy discussions.

 

At OECD Ministerial, Business Engages on Digital Transformation

L-R: Peter Robinson (USCIB), OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, Andrew Wyckoff (OECD), Charles Johnston (Citi)

On May 22-23, a strong delegation of global business leaders participated in the 2019 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, stressing the need for integrated policies that will enable business to fully deliver on the potential from the digital transformation for economies and societies.

This pivotal exchange platform allowed global members and corporate leaders affiliated with Business at OECD (known by the acronym BIAC), part of USCIB’s global network, to convey what business needs from international collaboration to promote both economic growth and inclusion. The high-level dialogue featured multiple interactions with ministers of economy, trade, foreign affairs, and finance from 36 OECD countries and key non-member economies. Senior business leaders – including Peter Robinson, USCIB’s president and CEO, Alexandre Ricard, CEO of Pernod Ricard, BIAC Vice Chair Charles Johnston, managing director of global government affairs with Citi and a USCIB board member, and Saori Dubourg, board member from BASF – formally addressed ministers during the program.

The OECD Ministerial outcomes and adopted instruments reflected critical policy recommendations from the 2019 Business at OECD Statement to Ministers, notably the need to appropriately involve stakeholders as future policy recommendations are developed, guidance that will enable data governance based on trust, and continued support for OECD evidence and facts on tax, competition and trade, including on tracking market distorting support measures and barriers. BIAC commended the adoption of the OECD Artificial Intelligence principles and the creation of an OECD Observatory on AI – business involvement in this area will be critical to achieve innovation in a number of fields including health, environment, and anti-corruption.

While in Paris, USCIB’s Robinson BIAC Secretary General Russel Mills and Senior Director Nicole Primmer attended a reception for ministers at the U.S. Mission to the OECD hosted by U.S. Charge d’Affaires Andrew Havilland. Robinson added that the week’s activities “gave me an opportunity to connect with the OECD leadership, including Jeffrey Schlagenhauf, the newly appointed OECD deputy secretary general from the United States.”

BIAC members also convened for the 5th occasion the current G20 and B20 (Business 20) presidencies to share business recommendations to G20 leaders ahead of the Osaka Summit. The event featured the participation of the Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Shinya Katanozaka, president and CEO of ANA Holdings, and the OECD’s leadership. Business speakers from BIAC’s French and German national members MEDEF and BDI, its Argentinian observer UIA, and from Accenture also debated views with five G20 sherpas and senior government officials. In this meeting, Business at OECD Chair Phil O’Reilly affirmed the importance of ensuring continuity and frank exchanges across presidencies to achieve tangible outcomes in G20 declarations and implementation actions.

Earlier, the Business at OECD Annual General Assembly brought together BIAC’s executive board, leadership from national organizations from 30 OECD and non-OECD countries, and associate expert groups to discuss our strategic priorities for global governance and national challenges. The meeting also benefited from a conversation with leadership from 12 major BIAC policy groups to present the OECD agenda across critical issues, our business perspectives, and the role the OECD can play in these fields.

Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, deputy secretary general of the OECD, gave a keynote address to participants on major OECD initiatives affecting businesses, and Alvaro Pereira, director of the Country Studies Branch of the OECD Economics Department, responded to insights from BIAC’s 2019 Economic Survey, and also shared main themes from the 2019 OECD Economic Outlook.